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British Industrial History

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Michael Scott (1818-1891)

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Michael Scott (1818-1891)

1891 Obituary [1]

MICHAEL SCOTT was born in Glasgow on the 4th August 1818. He was educated at Fisker's Academy, and afterwards attended the lectures of Professors Graham, Wilson, and Gregory at Anderson's College, Glasgow, where lie distinguished himself for his regular attendance. He studied architectural and mechanical drawing with great interest, and became a good draughtsman. He evinced a taste for mechanical engineering, and was articled as a regular working apprentice. The firm to which he was first apprenticed appears to have given up business shortly afterwards, but he served a regular period of pupilage under Mr. Starke, Glasgow, as mechanical engineer, then on the Ayr Railway, and afterwards under Messrs. Caird & Co., Greenock, as a marine engineer.

Whilst studying shipbuilding and marine engineering, in order to gain marine experience, he took employment as an assistant engineer on one of the steamers running between Glasgow and Liverpool in 1843.

Soon after this an assistant engineer was wanted for the Bootle Waterworks, near Liverpool, and Mr. Scott applied for and obtained the appointment. In 1846 he became engineer-in-chief to the company, and successfully completed the undertaking. When the waterworks were purchased by the Corporation of Liverpool in 1847, he was unanimously appointed resident engineer, and held that office till the end of 1849, when he proceeded to London, and began business on his own account as a civil engineer. One of his first engagements was the superintendence, as resident engineer, of the construction of extensive harbour works at Goole, which he had designed. In 1851 he was consulted by the Corporation of Swansea in connection with the water supply for that town, and the bill authorising the works recommended in his report received the royal assent on the 30th June 1852. About this time he invented an apparatus for laying large masses of concrete under water, everything being done by divers.

From 1856 to 1860 be was engaged as contractor, under Mr. James Abernethy, in the construction of the Port of Blyth breakwater.

The steelworks at Hallside, near Cambuslang, in Lanarkshire, were erected on plans supplied by the late Sir William Siemens, and carried out under Mr. Scott's directions, the latter having also been the first general manager and secretary of the company.

Mr. Scott took great interest in matters connected with naval warfare and defence, and read papers on these and cognate subjects before the Royal United Service Institution, the Institution of Naval Architects, the British Association, and elsewhere.

Mr. Scott commenced his professional career as a marine engineer, and a great portion of the second volume of his "Occasional Papers" is devoted to Naval Architecture. He claimed to have originated and first made known the Inflexible type of ship.

Several papers have been contributed by Mr. Scott to the Proceedings of the Iron and Steel Institute, of which he became a member in 1875. His first paper, on "Improved Casting Arrangements for the Siemens-Martin Process," was read in 1876; his second, also on "Steel Casting Apparatus," was read in 1878; and his third and last, on "Hydraulic Machinery for Steel Works," was read in 1881. For a number of years Mr. Scott was a regular attender at the meetings of the Iron and Steel Institute, and lie always took a keen interest in any matter pertaining to the development of the open-hearth process, whether communicated through the "Proceedings" of the Institute or otherwise.

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